You can’t spell “funeral” without “fun”

Or “dysfunction”.

The chairman/CEO/Owner of our company died recently. It was not unexpected as he was in failing health and pretty old. The wake is today and the funeral is tomorrow.

I am going to neither.

I find this is a bit of a tricky situation (as funerals often are) which I do not have the skills to properly navigate. I was not invited to the wake or funeral (are their invitations to such things?), but a couple people at work have asked me if I was going.

Since this is a privately held, family owned company in which I am newly minted “management”, there seems to be this underlying expectation that maybe I should go and pay my respects.

It’s kind of like “Are you going? You don’t have to go… But you are welcome to go. Other people are going….”. Classic Minnesota passive-aggressive.

The thing is– I have never met the man.

Yes, he was still the chairman of our company, but he wasn’t ever here. He was basically retired, but liked to keep a hand in the operations to some extent. Six or eight months out of the year he lived in Florida. The rest of the time he was “around”. Maybe.

At least he had an office and a parking space (that other family members always parked in).

I think I had seen him a couple times leaving the parking lot from afar. And maybe exchanged a hallway nod once or twice. But I had never been introduced to him– not even when I started work here.

My rule with funerals is: if I’ve never come to your home, why would I come to your funeral?

I think this is a pretty good rule. If I’ve been to your home, that means we are more than just casual acquaintances in my book. It still may not mean I think attending your funeral is appropriate, but at least we have some sort of connection.

Funerals, to me, are a time for friends and family of the deceased to gather. I was neither. I am just one of the semi-anonymous worker bees at a company he owned. And welcome or not, I would feel completely out of place at the funeral of some guy I didn’t know, never spoken with or even formally met.

Just because he signed my paycheck does this make be obligated to attend his funeral?

What say you all?

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About cb

Nickname: Munt Measurements: 45 B, 34, 38(?) Ambition: to be the best human ever! Turn ons: long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, porn, rainbows, cock Turn offs: bad smell face, men who are full of themselves, dead puppies, popcorn, sadness
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18 Responses to You can’t spell “funeral” without “fun”

  1. truthspew says:

    Well – by your logic the number of men you’ve had in your home means that you’ll have a well attended wake and funeral. 🙂

    That said, it may be a good networking opportunity.

  2. Robert says:

    If there were an “organized” group from work going, I would say go. Heck, even if you were acquainted with any of the family, I would say go. But if just random people are going, I honestly don’t think I’d be in attendance. You didn’t know the man so, for me at least, it would be a bit awkward.

    And yes truthspew – from what I understand, the Xcel Energy Center is already under contract to host CB’s memorial service when that time comes. If it’s summer, it may be necessary to use either the Gopher’s stadium, or maybe even the new Vikings stadium when it is completed. 🙂

    Love ya CB.

  3. NIFP says:

    Check with other mgmt. Are any of them going? I say make an appearance at the wake/visitation/viewing/whatever-it’s-called-in-MinyApple; 20 minutes may change your life/career. Just a soft “sorry for your loss” (I hate that phrase, btw; he’s lost, call the po-po and put out an Elder Amber alert!) and “thankful for the job he helped create for me” should suffice. Press the hands, sign the book, and you’re out. I think funeral is for family and closer friends.

    And if this is too late to make a difference, don’t sweat it. I have a personal policy of not going to these things at all, no matter how close a friend/co-worker. If it comes up, just mention tragedy in your own life and can’t do that again and blah-blah-blah-fishcakes.

  4. Ben says:

    If you really don’t feel comfortable going, send a sympathy card.

  5. You are absolutely not obligated to attend.

  6. me says:

    in 2012/2013 i went to about 40 funerals. some were for people i knew. some were for parents of people i sort of knew. some i went because they had known my partner and he couldn’t be there. some i went to because they were family of clients we’ve known for a long time. initially i thought it was silly because i didn’t know the people. but i had to change my mind when i realized what a huge impression in made on the family of the deceased. a friend of mine says “i still remember who didn’t come to my mother’s funeral”. so all that to say that, in my mind, you should go to the funeral, stick around to say “sorry for your loss” to the family afterwards and then leave. they will remember you came.

  7. Mark, née Fuzz says:

    You don’t go for the dead. You go for the living. That does not, however, mean you need to attend for every person who ever passed nearby. If you’re friends with a member of the family, you could go for support. If you never met the man and have no close relationship with any of the relatives, they’re all just gonna wonder who is the dark, dangerous looking individual in the back.

  8. nope, no obligation on your part to go.

  9. Chip says:

    No obligation.

  10. Chip says:

    Your posts been so thoughtful and sensitive of late.

    Feeling ok ?

  11. Tony says:

    While I don’t think you are obligated to go, I think since you are management it is the proper thing to at least make an appearance at the wake and sign the condolence book. Are others at your same management level going?

  12. Dirk says:

    My rule of thumb is to attend only if I knew them personally or know a member of their family and even then I never walk by the casket because I’m afraid the corpse will reach out and grab me (I’m not kidding).

  13. Zach says:

    I would go or at least send a card. A funeral It is not about the deceased. It is about the living relatives: friends, mates, or work acquaintances. But they are also an opportunity to be a visible “bee”, as you are indeed now part of the company management.

    P.S. Make sure you send the card to whoever is going to sign your check now.

  14. Gii says:

    would he have gone to your funeral?

    • Gii says:

      one more thing… did the family close the business for the day or cut the hours short for the funeral? That would indicate more of an ablation to attend, otherwise follow your gut -“to thine own self be true” to attend to kiss ass is just fake.

    • cb says:

      Um, no. He barely came to work

  15. Helen says:

    I find it odd that there is an expectation that you might consider going to the funeral

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